5.0 Mustang & Super FordsFeatured Vehicles
1981 Ford Mustang - Level Up
Not many Fox coupes are on the level of Robby Miller's '81 T-top
Some guys just can't sit still and enjoy a Mustang. They must constantly have something to work on. For example, Robby Miller had finally purchased the Mustang of his dreams, an '04 Mystichrome Cobra. With a Kenne Bell supercharger, the drop-dead gorgeous coupe made over 630 hp at the tires, and we featured it in our April '11 issue ("Next Level," p. 106). We thought the Mystichrome would be Robby's forever, but the car was unable to keep Robby from saying "next."
Robby says the Mystichrome Cobra wasn't "something he created." In other words, he didn't really have to work hard at getting attention with the car, and people would always say, "Anyone could buy a Mystichrome and, if in the right place, get national coverage."
That just wouldn't do for Robby. He needed to create something not built by Ford, but built by himself. He needed to have his own blood, sweat, and tears in the car to get to the next level. "For me, modifying the car has always been at the top of the list-big rims, big brakes, big engine, cool interior, and just enough 'show' to make you want to look," Robby says.
That thought lead him to look for another Fox Mustang build, but not just any Fox would do. He wanted a rare model to really stand out in the crowd. That lead to Saleen SCs, McLarens, or '93 Cobras. Had he moved on one of those, Robby would've been right back where he was with the Mystichrome. "What I wanted was something I had never seen in person," Robby says. Accomplishing that feat with a Mustang is not easy. We're all looking for individuality with our Mustangs, but Robby was looking for the unicorn of Mustangs.
His good friend Jeff King had what Robby wanted-a T-top coupe! However, Jeff wasn't parting with the car, so Robby had to get his own. He started with the usual online forums, but a local ad for a set of wheels caught his eye. He didn't really want the wheels, but the T-top coupe in the background stole the online show. A few private messages later, a deposit was on the way.
What Robby found was an '81 T-top coupe. "The car was a factory straight-six with an automatic transmission," Robby says. To Robby, that was good on a few fronts, but most importantly, he figured the car wasn't beat within an inch of its life at every stoplight. The car was a low-option LX without A/C or a console. Upon teardown, the car was better than he thought, without rust damage to the original floorpans.
What's more, the previous owner gave Robby a copy of the original title and all the build data on the car, along with a ton of insightful and great information. Initially Robby wasn't in a hurry to get going on the car since he still had the Mystichrome Termi. However, he kept hearing of deals too good to pass, so he started gathering parts.
He envisioned the completed project, and this helped him get busy tearing out the drivetrain and pulling off body panels. "It was just supposed to be a starting point for a long-term project, but I couldn't stop," Robby explained. He stopped off at the parts store, grabbed lots of sand paper, and started sanding. "I stripped the car down to bare metal from front to back."
A phone call to Robby's friend Jason Smoot led to a smoothed engine compartment. Jason welded while Robby used a grinder, Bondo, sandpaper, and more Bondo and sandpaper, to arrive at the finished product. Then Robby attacked the T-top's underside where, as he put, "It received the cleaning of its life." Following the cleaning, Robby painted the underside, trunk, and interior of the car using Rustoleum Hammered paint.